Undocumented families failing to appear in court after released from immigration centers

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Border Patrol encounters family unit in Mission (Source: KGBT photo) 

Family units crossing into the border illegally are failing to appear in court, according to a pilot program meant to track family unit immigration cases.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), their pilot program found that 87.5 percent of the migrant families have failed to appear in court.

With the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security having limited resources to house and process the migrant families, the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) created a program, which tracks and expedites family unit cases in ten immigration court locations including, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City and San Francisco.

From Sept. to April 7,724 order of removals were issued and from that 6,764 orders resulted in absentia, which is not a surprise to Border Patrol Agent  Hermann Rivera because of the way the immigration system works.

Rivera adds that eventually the immigrants receive information after they are detained for their court hearing, which is set up at the closest court to their final destination.

“Basically, they’re wandering in the United States doing their thing until something happens we won’t know that,” said Rivera. “Unfortunately, that’s just the way the system is at this time so it’s one of the flaws in the immigration system that’s currently in place.”

During a ride along with  Rivera to see what problems Border Patrol are now encountering as the staggering number of immigrants continue to cross illegally.

In a span of 30 minutes, we came across three family units with one that  Rivera said they don’t see too often.

“A lot of the times when we’re encountering these people they’re already walking on the road so what you saw is these people just made land fall into the United States,” Rivera said. “They were brought across by smugglers and they were actually walking through the brush here.”

Once the immigrants turn themselves in or are apprehended they have to be processed, which Rivera said is an extensive process.

“We try to be efficient as we can, but the thing is we’re getting too many people at one time that we’re not able to process them fast enough [and] get rid of them fast enough,” Rivera said.

Border Patrol currently has about 7,000 people in custody with some of them being housed at the McAllen Border Patrol Station as all of their facilities including the one in Donna has reached capacity.

However, the processing of immigrants includes them providing a physical address, which is verified by Border Patrol.



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